In the last post, I described the beginning of our marketing effort, creating a presence on social media. The second thrust of our marketing plan has been to get some reviews on the web. Everybody else seems to be getting these great reviews, so why can’t we? We don’t need to be reviewed everywhere to start, just in enough places that we can claim a few good reviews in our App Store writeup. I figured that we would start small, get ourselves into some lesser sites, until we got noticed by the big guys, like Techcrunch or MacWorld. It’s a matter of building up momentum, slowly (but not too slowly!) creating an air of “I’ve heard of that” for potential users.
One media outlet that had been recommended in some books is bloggers in the same space as your target market. For us who are interested in the parent market, that would be Mommy bloggers, of which there are quite a few. Mommy blogs are big business these days, with some of them having large and active readership. Of particular interest to us was the fact that most of them do sponsored posts, meaning that they would review our app favorably, for a fee.
The Mommy blogs we researched charged from $75 to $250, depending on the blog and on the service you wanted from them. We wanted the bloggers to write the reviews themselves, rather than have us do it (more $$, but better consistency with the rest of the blog) and we wanted blogs with a good reach/cost ratio. The information on reach was easily obtained through Google Analytics, so we narrowed down the blogs of interest to about two dozen of them, checked their reach/cost, and chose three to work with.
The three blogs we worked with are First Time Mom & Dad, Larger Family Life, and There’s Just One Mommy. All three did very nice reviews, and they were fine to work with, so I have no complaints about having done the reviews with them. However, as far as return-on-investment goes, they were a bust. None of the three blogs moved the signup needle in the least, despite tweeting the blog, putting it on Facebook, and so forth. Were these the wrong blogs? Was the idea wrong for our target market? Did we present the app the wrong way? I don’t know those answers, but I knew I wasn’t doing any more sponsored posts. They cost too much money to no effect.
OK, what’s next? Why not try some free reviews, on sites that regularly review apps like Funnelcake? I began by submitting Funnelcake information to a few app review sites by hand, which guaranteed that the sites had the information I wanted them to see, but was time-consuming and somewhat hit-or-miss, given that there were a lot of app review sites out there and the chances of getting a review from any one of them was a crap shoot. What to do to increase our chances?
I discovered, somewhat by accident, that there exist services that would submit your information to app review sites for you, and that they would do it for not ten, not twenty or thirty, but for a couple hundred sites, and would do it affordably. Eureka! I’m all in. So, I hired YourAppReport.com to submit our information to 255 different app review sites. Will it work at all of them? No, of course not, but so what as long as we get some reviews? The only problem is that many of these sites have a lead time of weeks or even months, so it will be a while before we can measure how effective our effort has been.